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Vacansoleil rider wins his national title 5 months after dramatic training crash in an extremely hard race on a tough course in Kerkrade

Photo: Sirotti

JOHNNY HOOGERLAND

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23.06.2013 @ 21:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) made it clear to everybody that he has recovered completely from his dramatic training crash in February when he held off the entire Blanco team on a tough course at the Dutch road race championships. Having joined Bram Tankink (Blanco) and Sebastian Langeveld (Orica-GreenEdge) in a front trio late in the race, he escaped on his own on the day's penultimate climb, thus taking a very emotional win on home soil.

 

When Johnny Hoogerland crashed hard during a training ride in Spain in February and came away from the incident with a fractured vertebrae, a bruised liver and some internal bleeding, few would have suggested that he would go on to win the Dutch national championships less than 6 months later. Nonetheless, that was exactly what happened today when the Vacansoleil rider came home triumphant in a tremendously hard edition of the championships race.

 

The race was held on the same tough circuit in Kerkrade that saw Niki Terpstra take the title one year ago and like last year, the race developed into attrition. Surprisingly, one of the day's outsider, newly crowned time trial champion Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) was the first to attack, the Dutchman being joined by Dion Beukeboom (Cycling Team De Rijke), Jasper Hamelink (Koga) and Dennis Smit (Metec).

 

 

The quartet was allowed to build up a 4-minute gap but the mighty Blanco team was in determined mood to take their first win in their home championships since 2008. Hence, the team put down the hammer, drastically reducing the size of the peloton under the pressure from Stef Clement and Jos Van Emden.

 

Westra was in a class of his own and gradually dropped his companions, continuing on his own with 90km to go. Nonetheless, his time gap kept coming down and with 35km to go, it was all over for the time trial specialist.

 

His teammate Maurits Lammertink made an immediate counterattack but got nowhere and from then on, the race turned into a festival of attacks. Riders kept going clear for a short while before being reeled back in by the peloton which had now been reduced to just around 10 riders.

 

Finally, one rider had success as Bram Tankink (Blanco) got clear on his own. Soon after he was joined by Hoogerland and Sebastian Langeveld to form a very strong front trio.

 

Behind, riders kept attacking in an attempt to bridge the gap, once of the offensives being launched by defending champion Terpstra. The most successful move came from Michel Kreder (Garmin) and Boy Van Poppel (Vacansoleil), the duo long being stuck in between the front trio and the small main group.

 

Karsten Kroon (Saxo-Tinkoff) attacked hard and passed the chasing duo, thus setting off in pursuit on his own. He was joined by Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano) and the youngster proved stronger than the veteran as Dumoulin left Kroon behind.

 

Up ahead, Tankink was unable to follow his companions on one of the climbs on the final lap, thus once again making sure than Blanco came away from its big home race empty-handed. On the penultimate climb, Hoogerland attacked Langeveld who was unable to respond, thus allowing the Vacansoleil rider to take an emotional win.

 

Langeveld was overtaken by Dumoulin on the final climb to the finish and so had to settle for 3rd while Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil) and Terpstra followed a little later while Tom-Jelte Slagter was the first Blanco rider across the line in 6th.

 

Hoogerland will bring his new jersey to France as he will line up at the Tour de France on Saturday.

 

Result:

1. Johnny Hoogerland 6.02.25

2. Tom Dumoulin +0.23

3. Sebastian Langeveld +0.27

4. Pim Ligthart +1.07

5. Niki Terpstra

6. Tom-Jelte Slagter +1.09

7. Karsten Kroon +1.13

8. Wilco Kelderman +1.19

9. Bram Tankink +1.49

10. Boy Van Poppel +2.15

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